Features

Christopher Lawrence: Psycho stalkers

“I have plenty of psycho fans, they send me odd things. I have one that sent me a bag of bullets. I also have a fan in Portland that says he’s a doctor and always offers to give me free botox injections after the party. The key is not to engage them.”

That Christopher Lawrence is popular with all sorts is obvious from his recent number 4 placing in DJ Mag’s Top 100, though whether all of them vote for him isn’t so clear. “Another is in prison and writes to me about all the ways he can kill someone,” Christopher chuckles. “He says that through my music I am the only one who understands him so he sent me a can of loose tea. He keeps writing asking if I have tried the tea yet.”

Described as ‘something on an anomaly in the trance genre, remaining one of the few US figureheads of the sound’, Christopher is also something of an anomaly generally, admitting he’s ambiguous about his best ever DJ ranking (last year he was 14). “How big a deal is it coming in the top 5? It all depends,” he muses. “For my mother it was hug. And for my fans it is great because their votes were rewarded. For me, I am very grateful and to be honest, a little surprised, but at the end of the day it is a number that ultimately means nothing on the dance floor.”

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Are you close to Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, or Paul Van Dyk, how much competition is there between you all?

Christopher Lawrence: I would not say that I am close with any of them, but have positive working relationships. I have never felt competitive with anyone. I suppose that is easy to say when your career is successful and everything is going your way, but it is true. The DJs at the top tend to be professionals. Of course, you will always get newcomers, who are anxious to prove themselves and find it difficult to handle success, making demands such as “I am number blah, blah, blah in DJ Mag, I demand this time slot or I won’t show up”. I have to laugh and say, when they mature they will realise that is not the way to go about it, you will make more enemies than friends. But that is a rare thing. Maybe it’s the music, but everyone seems to get along quite well.

Skrufff: Have you noticed any common characteristics that separate top 100 DJs from the thousands earning loads less on the next level?

Christopher Lawrence: Yes, they are older. But, no, there are no real differences except that perhaps those in the top 100 have far more aggressive marketing campaigns in place for the top 100.

Skrufff: Top 100 poll newcomer and trance DJ Gareth Emery told us he prospered after declaring ‘95% of trance is cheesy bollocks’: how much would you agree?

Christopher Lawrence: I agree completely. 95% of trance makes me sick to my stomach. It is cheesy, obvious and lacking in any sophistication. It’s a shame that I am labelled a trance DJ because it means I am associated with that crap. But I won’t abandon trance. Plus, there are signs that things may be turning around. I have heard many DJs that played cheesy anthems or ‘supertrance’ for years are now playing harder. Maybe trance can be saved. In the mean time, I call my sound “techno trance”.

Skrufff: Last year you told 3D World ‘I’m glad I don’t play techno because everyone is so critical of each other’: are you getting more jealousy at all now that you’re getting closer and closer to the top?

Christopher Lawrence: I haven’t noticed any jealousy… at least not to my face. I never expected to get this close to the top, but that being said, I look at this industry as a business, as well as a passion. Managing your career professionally is very important. I am just grateful to have had a career that has lasted this long and for the loyal fans that have come for the ride.

Skrufff: Are techno types still moodier?

Christopher Lawrence: I was wrong and will have to retract that statement after viewing all ‘behind the scene videos’ of techno DJs making out that have appeared on YouTube.com [Richie Hawtin and Sven Vath’s infamous snogging shoot HERE. I thought they were just chin stroking and criticising the music, but in really they were fantasising about making out with each other. And here was I thinking that the trance DJs were close.

Skrufff: It’s quipped you’re ‘best known for ‘ravishing groupies and missing flights’ adding ‘none of that’, which I didn’t see until later. Is it true?

Christopher Lawrence: That’s sad, but true, I have never been known to take advantage of really hot young sexy sweaty lusty girls. In fact I never noticed them. And to this day I have never missed a flight and only missed two events in fourteen years due to cancelled flights.

Skrufff: Are you still planning on moving to Australia?

Christopher Lawrence: Yes, after much procrastination, the date is set for December 2007.

Skrufff: Are you still politically active?

Christopher Lawrence: Yes. Most importantly by voting, which has resulted in a major change in America. The Democratic party has swept the Senate and the House of Representatives in the last election. Hopefully we will begin to see some change in the direction of America. Because I don’t have a lot of time, I donate a fair bit of money to political and environmental organisations. I have also been participating in a lot of the Involved events and fund raisers. It’s a great way for people in the music industry to participate in a worthwhile cause.

Skrufff: Does it get easier as you get more experienced?

Christopher Lawrence: No, not at all there is always more to do. When I look back it seemed so easy when I started out. Just me and a bag of records plying at a party down the road. It has become so complicated now with managers, production, labels, agents, lawyers, international travel, press and publicity and no time for family or friends. No, it was much easier in the beginning.

Christopher Lawrence tours Australia in January and February:

Jan 12 – Sydney, Sublime

Jan 19 – Brisbane, Family

Feb 2 – Gold Coast, Platinum

Feb 9 – Melbourne, Room